Although it has just a small percentage of users compared to Windows or Mac OS X, Linux and Linux-based operating systems seem to be on the upswing in 2020. This is primarily due to the ease of customization, open-source code, and the desire for people to build an operating system that fits their needs perfectly. Of course, that increases the chance of system crashing and as a consequence, partial or permanent data loss. To combat that issue, there are many things you can try, especially if you’re an advanced user. Our suggestion is to first try one or more of the best data recovery software for Linux we’ve handpicked for you.
1. GParted Live
We have to start with what we believe to be the first data recovery software on Linux that had a graphical interface. Unfortunately, the interface remained outdated, but the software itself can be booted off a CD and USB drive or installed on your hard drive or PXE server. It can help restore data and lost partitions, edit text, and even copy, archive, and restore data to prevent future problems. In our opinion, it is the best mix of ease-of-use, as it barely has a learning curve, and efficacy, as it has received a lot of praise.
2. Redo Backup and Recovery
We owe it to new Linux users to provide software that has an eye-pleasing interface similar to something you’d see on Windows and Mac. Redo Backup and Recovery also works by analyzing, repairing, and restoring partitions, MBR or GPT, and remapping them to a different location of your choice. This also goes for entire local disk drives and even shared network drives. The best part is – no need to install, just boot it off a USB drive or a CD.
Here’s a software that has a graphical interface and supports Windows, Mac, and Linux. The company promised to make an all-in-one data recovery software, and we think they’re pretty close to it. For one, it combines a lot of features that usually require multiple software inside a bootable disk, which shows their competency. Plus, it is designed for things such as power outage, hard drive failure, corrupted data, accidental deletion, partition errors, and much more. You can also do complete data recovery through LAN or the Internet. That means you can help a friend or member of the family, or fix your computer from anywhere in the world.
4. Trinity Rescue Kit
We thought this one was dead a few years ago, but a developer restarted the updating process, sparking new hope. And we’re glad he or she did because this used to be our favorite utility in the past. It works by creating a USB bootable drive that can then restore your computer, whether Windows, Linux or Mac, back to working order. It covers common issues such as physical failure, system crash, virus attack. The rescue disk is powerful in the hands of a professional as it has a wide variety of features. However, we feel newbies would get confused without guidance on their first try.
We mentioned remapping and copying data from a damaged partition to a new location to salvage as much as possible. But what if there was a software that could go right ahead and repair the partition data? Well, there is, and it’s named TestDisk. It’s free, open-source, and much more user friendly than Trinity Rescue Kit while still being quite efficient. It works by restoring filesystem tables, boot sectors, and repairing and restoring data from various file systems. It is also compatible with SunOS, Windows, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, and DOS. Additionally, it covers both virus attacks and human errors such as formatting drives or deleting a partition table by accident.
6. SystemRescue CD
Going back to what feels familiar and doesn’t have a steep learning curve. It’s another rescue disk that can be booted off of CD or USB stick or installed on Linux or Windows. It comes equipped with GParted, for example, as well as a plethora of basic and advanced tools such as FSArchiver, Ddrescue, ntfs3g, TestDisk, Memtest, Rsync, and many others. It’s easier to use than Trinity but has a slightly lower number of features. Regardless, it can help repair partitions, restore deleted data, create remote backups, test your computer’s memory for problems, and more.
7. Mondo Rescue
Mondo Rescue is often described as an ultimate GPL disaster recovery software. It will look similar to the installations of older versions of Windows to those new to Linux. It also scores high on the compatibility scale, being compatible with FreeBSD (i386) and Linux (i386, x86, x64, ia64). Besides hard disks, it also supports external devices, RAID configurations, and both BIOS and UEFI. The interface, although not a command line, is still complex and can easily lead to confusion. However, it is powerful in restructuring and restoring partitions and thus restoring your computer to working order.
Despite the name, PhotoRec can recover photos, videos, documents, and archives from hard disks. It is also free and can be booted off a CD or USB drive, and commonly used in combination with TestDisk. The software has no GUI and completely ignores file systems in place, only scanning for data itself. That makes it compatible with DOS, Windows, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, and a few others. Furthermore, it uses read-only access to data, thus eliminating the possibility of overwriting the old files on your system. Of course, it’s important to act quickly and to pick a different partition or drive as the output folder.
We saved a last resort data retrieval software, SafeCopy, for ninth place. It uses a command-line and works on a proven principle, scanning for data and copying it to an output folder of your choice. However, it possesses a unique feature, using low-level I/O operations, which can circumvent issues with access to copying. This maximizes the data extracted from the drive, CD, DVD, or USB drive. We recommend using SafeCopy either before or after TestDisk.
This is neither a command-line nor a software with a graphical interface, but rather one that uses a console. It uses data structures of well-known file types such as pictures, documents, and videos. The process is often referred to as “file carving” because once you choose a file type or types, the program “carves” the surface of the hard drive for all possible results. Then, you can preview the results and choose the output folder where you want them copied. The fact that it was developed by the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations and then released publicly adds a lot of reliability.
11. Avira Rescue System
The software hoards a set of free tools that helps users with writing a bootable CD. A Utility allows users to download the bootable CD as an ISO file, hence rendering the need for a hardware moot. Since Avira also has its own Linux-based OS, it can clean an unbootable PC or search for a malware. The software is regularly updated with security patches.
12. Boot Repair
Finally, we have Boot Repair, yet another data recovery tool that can restore files from an unbootable device. The software can repair booting, even when GRUB is broken. Furthermore, the Boot Repair can handle GRUB reinstallation or restoration. It allows the generic MBR to boot via a Windows platform as a backup.